I’ve been riding just over a year and because I’m lucky enough to live in Northern California I’ve crammed a whole load of firsts into those 12 months.
It’s down to the weather really. We get fog, rain, wind and 100˚+F heat to -30, but you can ride the San Francisco Bay Area all year round so it’s a dream.
I’ve watched people around the world talk about putting their bikes up until spring for the snow, but my first year in my Thruxton’s saddle has been a rapid learning curve as I rode consistently.
I started last March and quickly ticked off the boxes. From riding the four blocks around my house to get to know the bike, by May I was on main roads getting used to traffic. In June I started the ‘real’ riding as well as commuting to work, so it doesn’t take long.
Northern California’s roads – all within five to 45-minutes away – are unbelievable too.
Flat and curvy
McKean Road, past Uvas Reservoir to Watsonville.
Weave languidly around the reservoirs. You’re not going to get into too much trouble by taking a turn too hot or dealing with a lot of undulation. Just a nice relaxing ride that gets you leaning a little, but not too much.
Long and sweeping
Highway 1, the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway). One of the planet’s most iconic roads running alongside the Pacific from LA up past Mendocino in and out and up and down alongside the coastal stretch of cliffs. Ride stress-free for hours or string it out by stopping at some of the beaches, parks and other attractions along the route. In short, some of the best scenery California has to offer and the ride you’ve always dreamed of taking.
Niles Canyon (Highway 84) in Fremont, Calaveras Rd in Milpitas and Highways 84, 35 and 9 on the peninsula. Another first, I got confident and worked up to more aggressive roads that interconnect and twist back and forth through the mountains back to the PCH. Each time was a confidence builder so if I was with a group, I’d tell them to ride ahead and wait for me at the bottom of the hill or next junction. I never rode outside my comfort zone.
The different roads and great California weather, the vast number and variety of roads and the laws, it’s been a great year. I’ve done 17,000+ miles and I’m looking at another first, a trip to Yosemite this summer and a PCH ride down to LA and San Diego.
Because of the roads, Cali weather and my Thruxton, I don’t need a specific destination. I can just mount up and take off, for no other reason than For The Ride.